Scouting Family,

In the last two weeks, we have celebrated the best of Scouting at our 20th National Jamboree with nearly 40,000 participants, volunteers, staff and visitors. The 2017 National Jamboree has showcased and furthered the Scouting mission by combining adventure and leadership development to give youth life-changing experiences. Scouts from Alaska met Scouts from Alabama; Scouts from New Mexico met those from New York, and American youth met youth from 59 other countries.

Over the course of ten days, Scouts have taken part in adventures, learned new skills, made new and lasting friendships and completed over 200 community service projects that offered 100,000 hours of service to the community by young men and women eager to do the right thing for the right reasons. 

These character-building experiences have not diminished in recent days at the jamboree –  Scouts have continued to trade patches, climb rock walls, and share stories about the day’s adventures. But for our Scouting family at home not able to see these real moments of Scouting, we know the past few days have been overshadowed by the remarks offered by the President of the United States.

I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.

While we live in a challenging time in a country divided along political lines, the focus of Scouting remains the same today as every day.

Trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness and bravery are just a few of the admirable traits Scouts aspire to develop – in fact, they make up the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

As part of our program’s duty to country, we teach youth to become active citizens, to participate in their government, respect the variety of perspectives and to stand up for individual rights.

Few will argue the importance of teaching values and responsibility to our youth — not only right from wrong, but specific positive values such as fairness, courage, honor and respect for others.

For all of the adventure we provide youth such as hiking, camping and zip-lining, those activities actually serve as proven pathways and opportunities to develop leadership skills and become people of character.

In a time when differences seem to separate our country, we hope the true spirit of Scouting will empower our next generation of leaders to bring people together to do good in the world.

Yours in Scouting,



  1. Avatar
    Steve E says:

    Why is BSA so focused on apologizing? That embarrasses me. Maybe it’s time to stand up for what’s right instead of cowering to the liberal media. Signed, A Confused Eagle Scout

  2. Avatar
    David Gunnells says:

    I agree with comments above – I am stunned at how over-blown this whole thing has become. I genuinely wonder how many critics of the speech actually listened to it or did they just read the CNN/Washington Post/Time/etc headlines and move on. Certainly the media over-exaggerated this. The statement from the “Chief” was fine – if you were offended, sorry. Now, let’s move on to more important things – like Scouting!

  3. Avatar
    Renee Lyman says:

    No one will remember the political aspects of the speech in a few weeks. Everyone will just remember a President spoke at Jamboree. No matter your political standing, there is still respect for the office of President and that in and of itself is enough to make this an amazing tradition.

  4. Maloree Anderson
    Maloree Anderson ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    I understand that people have their beliefs, opinions, and thoughts. I respect that. I just wish people understood how small of an event this was compared to the Jamboree as a whole. Those Scouts are not worrying about media and politics right now. They are conquering fears, building confidence, learning new skills, and making friends with others around the Nation, even the world. Let’s focus on Scouting and not the press.

  5. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder ( User Karma: 9 ) says:

    I was at Jamboree, but not in the amphitheater. I saw the speech from nearly a mile away and on a TV there. Our Scouts seemed genuinely excited that a sitting President took time to speak to them. Many had waited for several hours. I think they were filled with youth exuberance and will be surprised at how the nation has reacted to the event.

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